Tag Archives: loudspeakers

Asheville, Walnut Cove, Biltmore Forrest and Western North Carolina’s Audio and Home Theater specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

I’m not sure how you troubleshoot noise in a stereo system with the loudspeakers disconnected, but otherwise, while this isn’t the way I’d track down noise, the general idea is ok.

First is to determine if the noise is common to both channels and if the noise is present with all the sources connected to the system, go from there.

Narrowing focus

When problems arise in our stereo systems we’re often at wit’s end to resolve them. I cannot tell you the number of exasperated calls and emails I have received from customers who have “tried everything” without success.

Of course, trying everything is akin to having looked everywhere for something lost. Neither statement can be true. Clearly, one hasn’t looked where the missing item is, nor can it be said you’ve tried everything since you haven’t tried the one thing that will fix the problem.

When trouble occurs, it’s best to take a deep breath, wash away all your assumptions, and begin to narrow your focus to specific elements within the chain. This is the tried and true way of troubleshooting known as the Process of Elimination. We selectively eliminate pieces of the electronic chain until the errant device is identified.

Narrowing down the problem to one section, one piece, or one process is the key to effective troubleshooting. My preference is to start at the output and work backward. So, for example, if there’s an annoying noise coming from your speakers, disconnect the cables feeding your speakers and see if the noise stops. It probably will. Next, connect the next piece in the chain, typically the amp and its cables—but make sure the amp hasn’t anything connected to its inputs. Noise? It’s the amp. No noise? Keep working down the chain.

By narrowing your focus you hone in on the bad citizen. From there, you repeat the process of elimination process on the device itself until finally you understand what went wrong.

Always a great skill to keep in one’s back pocket.


Asheville, Walnut Cove, Biltmore Forrest and Western North Carolina’s Audio and Home Theater specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

This morning, I learned that my favorite Hi-Fi writer ever, from Stereophile Magazine, Art Dudley, passed away on April 14th of this year.

I had no clue Art was sick and this came as a shock to me, as well as just plain sad. He wasn’t that old, in his early to mid 60’s,  and always looked healthy and robust in the pictures and videos of him, I was able to see. Truly, life is fragile and this has hit home for me.

Art loved Single Ended Triode amps and tube preamplifiers, which I’ve owned many of in the past and one of his favorite pair of loudspeakers is an old high efficiency Altec design from 1966, called the Flamenco, similar to one of the speakers I own and use now. I say “similar to”, because the driver I use, the Altec 604, has been brought back to life by Great Plains Audio, so while mine is a copy and my cabinet is a one of a kind thing I designed and had someone build, the driver does use original Altec tooling, so an Altec driver. Art would probably disagree and I wish I could have had that conversation with him.

He used old vintage Garrard and Thorens turntables that he re-conditioned himself and digital audio was pretty much an afterthought for him. I don’t think he thought digital was listenable enough for him to enjoy. He also didn’t sweat room acoustics and audio tweaks. Probably better off that way. He was also an accomplished guitar player.

I was hoping to go to the 2020 Axpona show, where he would have been and meet and talk to him for a couple of minutes. Maybe have a discussion about that Altec driver. I’m truly sorry I won’t ever be able to now.

Anyway,  Art was an opinionated writer, but could put sound into words, like no other writer I’ve ever read.  I can tell from things he wrote about and things I read about him that he was a good husband, father, animal owner and human being. I just watched a video of him from 2017 describing his system in great detail, his thoughts on stereo equipment and at the end, he is driving somewhere and sees a turtle in the road. He pulled his car over, took out his floor mat and pushed the turtle to the other side of the road. Only a good person would do this and I will miss him.

Our thoughts go out to his wife and daughter and all his friends and co-workers  that were able to interact with him often. I regret never meeting him in person, although I felt I knew much about him from his writings. He will be missed by many.